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PARAGRAPH 426_BUTTON FORMS. The CHAIRMAN. You do not mean to say it would require eight inches. There is no button big enough to require eight inches of cloth to cover one button.
Mr. PUTNAM. Oh, yes, there is, Mr. Chairman. Take the ladies' big fur coats. Mr. Hill. Would not they make caps out of a piece of that size? Mr. PUTNAM. Not very well. Mr. Hill. Cut them diagonally and match them up? Mr. Putnam. No, it is pretty hard. Mr. Hill. They did do it.
Mr. PUTNAM. I do not see how they could, because they are made on a Jacquard loom. A Jacquard loom is fancy effects; the edges fray. They have just got to be made in form for button purposes exclusively.
Mr. FORDNEY. How big is a button that will require a piece of cloth 8 inches square?
Mr. PUTNAM. Well, I guessed at the 8 inches. I should say that it is about a size close to a dollar. You understand 8 inches is necessary, because you take an 8-inch cover and probably need half an inch to draw down under the button, to draw the material under the metal, to close it, to hold it. Therefore an 8-inch piece would be drawn down to 74 inches.
Mr. PALMER. Seven inches in diameter
Mr. PALMER. A hundred line ? There are 40 lines to the inch, are there not?
The CHAIRMAN. That would be a button 24 inches in diameter?
Mr. PUTNAM. It is 40 line centimeters to the inch. That is the expression used. Now, what we call a 3-inch cloth permits us to make only a 36-line button.
Ńr. PALMER. A 3-inch piece?
Mr. PUTNAM. Yes; you take 6 inches, that would make 72 lines; 3 inches make 56 lines, and so on.
Mr. HAMMOND. I thought there were 40 lines to the inch.
Mr. PUTNAM. Forty line centimeters to an inch. We use the French expression of centimeters in measuring buttons. We adopted it from Europe.
The CHAIRMAN. The other people use lines?
Mr. FORDNEY. Are you limited in your ability to get material in this country?
Mr. PUTNAM. Yes; for the reason there are no machines here. You see, these are Jacquard looms. Those looms are principally in Germany. They are made by special machinery for button purposes only, and we have none in this country. We have a few Jacquard looms, which are for neckwear, silks, and things of that kind.
PARAGRAPH 426_BUTTON FORMS. Mr. FORDNEY. Then the material is not made here! Mr. PUTNAM. No; the material is not made here. Mr. FORDNEY. The duty is so high you can not import it, you say? Mr. PUTNAM. It is prohibitive in the larger sizes.
Mr. PETERS. Under what paragraph are the importations exceeding 3 inches ?
Mr. PUTNAM. Paragraph 426.
Mr. FORDNEY. No; this is 426 where they are located now, and he says not exceeding 3 inches.
Mr. PUTNAM. In any one dimension.
Mr. PETERS. What paragraph do the importations that exceed 3 inches come in under ?
Mr. PUTNAM. Paragraph 383, at page 49 of the act, 50 cents a pound and 60 per cent ad valorem.
Mr. PETERS. Do you know what the ad valorem rate is on those ?
The CHAIRMAN. The button rate is 10 per cent. Of course, when it gets up into the cloth rate
Mr. PUTNAM (interposing). On the manufactured buttons in paragraph 427 we respectfully request a 50 per cent ad valorem as heretofore.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you tell me the amount of imports and of American production?
Mr. PUTNAM. No. That is in an unprovided list. In 1911 in that unprovided list it was something like $206,000, with a duty of $103,000 paid. There is no classification. We can not find the amount. There is no way of telling it.
The CHAIRMAN. We are not going to write a prohibitive rate, and it is advisable for you to show us the amount of competition if you want to maintain your rate.
Mr. PUTNAM. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. If you have reasonable competition now you have a good chance for a day in court, but if you have a prohibitive rate, if you can get the information as to the comparative imports and the American production, it would be a good thing for you to give it to this committee. We are suffering, of course, from the same trouble you are with respect to these schedules where they are classed together.
Mr. Putnam. I was to the Treasury Department, but we find it impossible to get the exact amount of cloth-covered buttons that came in in any year, because they are all in an unprovided list, which come in under a 50 per cent ad valorem duty.
Mr. Harrison. There is only one class of buttons that comes in under thg 50 per cent ad valorem duty. That is silk buttons, and then the basket clause.
PARAGRAPH 426-BUTTON FORMS.
Mr. PUTNAM. Fifty per cent.
Mr. Harrison. The other buttons carry specific duties with ad valorems running all the way through.
Mr. PUTNAM. It says for the unprovided-
Mr. PUTNAM. No. There are other classes of buttons coming in under the same duty.
Mr. HARRISON. I have no doubt there are several different kinds of buttons that come in under the basket clause; but the only class that carry the 50 per cent ad valorem are silk buttons and the basket clause.
Mr. PUTNAM. Yes.
Mr. HULL. I notice that imports under this basket clause seem to be less than 1 per cent of the domestic production.
Mr. PUTNAM. One per cent?
Mr. FORDNEY. What is your labor cost for the entire output of the buttons ?
Mr. PUTNAM. About 60 per cent.
Mr. PUTNAM. Well, not quite, because we add our overhead charges and profits, etc.
Mr. FORDNEY. Your overhead charges are not included in your labor cost?
Mr. PUTNAM. No.
The CHAIRMAN. It is very material to the proposition in connection with your button question, of how your imports compare with American production.
Mr. PUTNAM. The question in our case is entirely one of import, because you can see from the act back to 1863 that there always has been a lower tariff on the raw material.
The CHAIRMAN. I am not questioning about that matter. I think you have explained the case very clearly about your buttons. I have no desire to see your buttons thrown into the cloth schedule and make you pay a 60 per cent rate when other buttons are paying a 10 per cent rate. I think you make that clear.
The question you are talking about as to the 50 per cent duty on the finished product, the finished button, that is another matter. What we want to do is to get the information.
Mr. PUTNAM. That 50 per cent duty, as near as we can figure it out, is about the difference of the wages between Germany and Italy, France, and this country. (See letter which follows.)
PARAGRAPH 426-BUTTON FORMS.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean their labor cost is half as much as
Mr. PUTNAM. Just about half.
The CHAIRMAN. Then you would only need a 25 per cent rate to equal the difference? If the total labor was 60 per cent, and the labor there costs half as much as it does here, a 30 per cent rate would equalize your labor cost? Mr. PUTNAM. Yes.
Mr. FORDNEY. In addition to that, the duty he pays on the raw material must be protected, too.
The CHAIRMAN. That is only 10 per cent.
Mr. Purnam. Ten per cent, and besides the expense of carrying charges, etc.; commissions for bringing it in, and so on.
The CHAIRMAN. Besides the 10 per cent you pay on your raw material when you come in here, when the other man brings the raw material in here he brings it in under a 50 per cent rate, and the value of the raw material is assessed just as a finished product. It goes into the finished product, so it has increased very much the production of your raw material. It seems to me that is taken care of.
What I want is to get the facts. If the 50 per cent rate is a prohibitive rate I do not think you need to contend for it here.
Mr. PUTNAM. It is not. The importer only asks for 40 per centthe importers this afternoon.
The CHAIRMAN. I think they wanted
Mr. PUTNAM (interposing). They wanted 40 per cent and the 50 per cent ad valorem.
Mr. FORDNEY. Rest assured they want a rate sufficiently low to bring in competition.
Mr. PUTNAM. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. What I want to find out about your matter is the amount of competition you have got. If you can furnish it later, in the form of a letter, I wish you would give the committee that information. In connection with a great many articles we can get that information from the reports ourselves; but on these buttons they are not given separately, and if you can give us that information we would like to have it.
New YORK, N. Y., February 3, 1913. Hon. Oscar W. UNDERWOOD, Ways and Means Committee, House of Representatives,
Washington, D. C. Dear Sir: The writer would beg of you to be permitted to change his testimony in connection with the difference of wages paid in this country and other foreign countries, which I stated was 50 per cent. In fact, it is more than 100 per cent.
Would kindly refer you to the briefs filed by the other button manufacturers, namely, ivory, who give the reports of the different consuls in Germany, France, England, and Italy, which will confirm the above statement regarding the difference in wages in this country. Trusting you will grant the request, beg to remain, yours, very truly,
NEWELL-Putnam MANUFACTURING Co.,
SUGGESTION OF W. A. SCHNEIDER, NEW YORK, N. Y.
W. STURSBERG, SCHELL & Co.,
New York, January 3, 1913. The COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: I would suggest that paragraph 426 of the present tariff be changed as follows: Insert after the word “form” the words “or cut in such manner and eliminate the words “and not exceeding three inches in any one dimension.
This suggested change is simply a return to the rate in the Dingley and preceding tariff acts. This would give our button manufacturers cheaper and better raw material and at the same time give the Government additional revenue. Respectfully submitted.
W. A. SCHNEIDER. PARAGRAPH 427.
Buttons or parts of buttons and button molds or blanks, finished or unfinished, shall pay duty at the following rates, the line-button measure being one-fortieth of one inch, namely: Buttons known commercially as agate buttons, metal trousers buttons (except steel), and nickel bar buttons, onetwelfth of one cent per line per gross; buttons of bone, and steel trousers buttons, one-fourth of one cent per line per gross; buttons of pearl or shell, one and one-half cents per line per gross; buttons of horn, vegetable ivory, glass, or metal, not specially provided for in this section, three-fourths of one cent per line per gross, and in addition thereto, on all the foregoing articles in this paragraph, fifteen per centum ad valorem; shoe buttons made of paper, board, papier-mache, pulp or other similar material, not specially provided for in this section, valued at not exceeding three cents per gross, one cent per gross; snap fasteners, or clasps, or parts thereof, by whatever name known, Aity per centum ad valorem; buttons of metal, embossed with a design, device, pattern, or lettering, forty-five per centum ad valorem; buttons not specially provided for in this section, and all collars or cuff buttons and studs composed wholly of bone, mother-of-pearl, or ivory, fifty per centum ad
valorem. See Geo. Borgfeldt & Co., page 5223.
TESTIMONY OF HENRY T. NOYES. The witness was duly sworn by the chairman of the committee.
Mr. Noyes. Mr. Chairman, I ask permission to leave with your committee some little exhibits which perhaps will make our industry a little more clear to the various members of the committee. I appear,
(r. Chairman, for the German-American Button Co., of Rochester. At the same time I wish to state to you that I find here in Washington 14 other manufacturers of vegetable-ivory buttons who, unknown
have come here and who are on your list for hearing. In order to save the time of your honorable body, these gentlemen have waived their rights of appearing, and I will try to deal with the subject, if you will permit me to do so.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me call over the names of these other gentlemen. Do you appear for all the button manufacturers ?
Mr. Noyes. I am appearing just for the German-American Button Co., Mr. Underwood.
The CHAIRMAN. I see.
Mr. Noyes. I want to make clear to you, first, Mr. Chairman, that there are a good many branches to the button business. There are